Mr. Peter Hayden: The One That Got Away
Text: Jean Ramsay
Pics: Jean Ramsay & Yogi
In my years as a music journalist I’ve come across an endless stream of fresh young hopefuls. Listened to their records, opened beer bottles in satisfaction to every Stonesy riff, moaned and groaned at every painful Beatles reference. Read through lyrics looking for weak spots, placed traps and snares under wobbly metaphors and oddly familiar melodies, and enjoyed the moment when I catch one faking it, mimicing past geniuses like a monkey.
I’m good at what I do. I have a good set of ears and an abstract enough mind to translate colours and emotions into words. I pin them like butterflies for you to observe and understand.
Until now, that is.
I’m staring at an envelope. I have been for the past three months, ever since it arrived towards the beginning of this assignement. On it, there is a hand-drawn triangle, within which the letters “P” and “H” are superimposed. The cross-like symbol they form breaks the lowest tangent of the triangle. Around it, three sets of nine lines radiate out from the triangle. The fifth is the tallest, functioning as a mirror within the nine, duplicating the identical sets of four around it.
Under the triangle, the numbers 47 and 33 are written. Their significance is a mystery to me. They are too close for comfort to that old worn out pair, 45 / 33 1/3. If they show the rounds these records make per minute, the single would be faster than usual, and the LP slower. An appealing thought. 2 rounds a minute on a 7″ probably equals 1/3 on 12″. Dunno, I’m just taking pot shots into the dark.
In any case, the difference is the key.
The envelope itself contains a CD and a 7″ single. On the cover of the CD, that same triangle appears, only now it contains the title of the record, “Archdimension Now”, the letter “A” funtioning as the summit of the triangle.
The case contains two CD’s. Both CD’s contain one unnamed track, approximately three quarters of an hour long.
I place the first into my computer. iTunes freaks out, doesn’t recognize them at first, and then thinks they are motivational lectures on how to succeed in the business marketplace and tips on how to reach a positive outcome in dating someone. OK, wrong move. I press eject.
Having placed them into my stereo all sense of time and place disappear. I don’t know how to explain the experience in any other way than to say…
…I am a wordless fur-covered primate and the forest around me is full of terrifying sounds. Screeching birds high up in the treetops tear at my nerves, sound almost mocking. The light of Day turns into the vast unexplained of Night, and the pulse of my own heart and the rushing liquid in my bloodstream block out my senses. Fear becomes a space, it has dimensions, the present and timelessness; the potent and intoxicating now, standing on the brim of nothingness, on the springboard of my own bare existence, intensified by an abrupt end….
The music stops. I am back in my room. Needless to say, I do not have the courage to place the other CD into the player. The obvious reference is Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, itself a riff on the heart of darkness Joseph Conrad uncovered in the blackest pit of the jungle. Is this my subconscious playing tricks on me, deciphering a wordless landscape, juxtaposing it with fragments that lie scattered in the mud of my unconsious? Or is Mr. Peter Hayden playing my subconscious like an instrument?
I turn to the 7″. This looks normal, has a title and the name of the song and the band on the cover, and the familiar symbol PH as seen through a window of a moving car, showing a rail and the skyline of a forest. I decide to listen to side A first, a song called We Fly High. Wait. Side B is also called We Fly High. The unexplained starts to take hold once more.
The back cover shows the five members of the band. There it is again, the mirror within the nine.
I place it onto my record player and lift the arm. Nothing happens. My record player, which was fine just before, dies.
I am powerless. This music is beyond me. My tools of comprehension literally break down in my hands.
The moment is not without significance. Somebody is trying to tell me something.
In my despair, I am suddenly reminded of the only time I have seen Mr. Peter Hayden in concert.
Or actually, of a photograph of me seeing Mr. Peter Hayden in concert, as I have no recollection of the music itself.
In the photograph, I am kneeling in front of the band, my face in my hands.
My upper body is naked.
I need to know why.
Mr. Peter Hayden, what is the significance of the triangle?
Lauri Kivelä: “It represents the three-part journey one needs to travel to gain the needed knowledge or experience to ascend, to reach a kind of higher level of awareness.”
How does 47 compare to 33? Was I on the right track with the RPM?
L: “It’s always tempting to go with the obvious one, but these numbers have very little to do with speed or revolving. I have been taught that they symbolize boundary surfaces of different levels, with various significances. But there is more to them, they are much like
yin and yang.”
Why am I a fur-covered primate in the jungle?
L: “This is something you need to resolve yourself, but I can imagine that your journey has started and you are on your way to figure out a lot of yourself. I wish you courage to go deeper, regular sessions of meditation and needed assistance music- or chemical-wise.”
Why is the initial emotional response one of fear?
L: “It’s a primal emotion, very natural reaction. But don’t worry, it will wear out in no time. Just dive deeper.”
How did I die?
L: “You didn’t die, actually you will never die. You have just gone through a phase that needs a part of you to ‘die’ and be reborn. Go for it, summon the new improved Mr. Ramsay.”
Why did you break my record player?
L: “We did not. It must have been guidance. Instead of worrying look towards the opportunities this incident will lead you to. You have a choice, to let the player lie there broken for years or take it to the repair shop and follow the path lead by guidance. Also you must observe the moment of the incident, was there something hidden there?”
Why am I hiding my face? Where is my shirt?
L: “It’s again the theme of regeneration. I suppose you are not feeling very good with yourself at the moment the picture was taken. Though the amount of ecstasy and trance you have gone through that night implies that you have already begun the process. You need to ‘dive deep enough within to be able and ready to reach the new highs’. This is what I have been taught. Go explore yourself, loose grip on time, the place and finally yourself. Come back with the gained experience and you will be free to be anything.”
Is 5 a mirror within the 9?
L: “Five stands for the Majestic Five. And the nine obviously must refer to muses.”